Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
Two extremely attractive 20-somethings are standing in an elevator. One of them is listening to music on his headphones. The audience is given a moment to absorb how hip and pretty they are before the dialogue begins.
“I love The Smiths,” says the girl.
“I’m sorry?” says the guy, for some reason just now noticing the smoking hot chick that he’s been alone with in the elevator for the past few minutes.
“I said I love The Smiths,” repeats the girl.
The guy stares at her longingly. The audience swoons because they know that in the movies, when two attractive people both like the same crappy ’80s band, they will undoubtedly become soulmates.
* * *
A sassy, pregnant teenage girl and a 30-something guy sit in a room listening to music.
“Do you hear that?” asks the guy. “It’s Sonic Youth doing ‘Superstar’ by The Carpenters.”
“I like The Stooges, early Husker Du, and The Germs,” says the pregnant girl. “Let’s sit around having a pissing contest to see who can name the most obscure bands. I’m sure moviegoers won’t be bored to tears by that sort of pretentiousness.”
“Let’s also discuss obscure horror films,” says the guy. “Like ‘Wizard of Gore.'”
“Has the audience left yet? Let’s make the entire rest of this scene an obnoxious lecture about arcane items of pop culture that the screenwriter is forcing down viewers’ throats in a way too obvious fashion.”
* * *
Two boring teenagers with no personality sit in a legendary music recording studio owned by the teenage girl’s father. A song by Devendra Banhart begins playing on the radio, despite the fact that no mainstream radio station has ever played that song before.
“This is my song,” says the girl.
“I also love this song,” says the guy.
“That is completely awesome,” says the girl. “I’m so impressed with you that I’m going to unbutton my pants but not slide them down, and somehow we will have sex for eight seconds.”
“Really?” asks the guy. “The fact that we like the same band for some reason makes you crave my loins? That seems unrealistic.”
“It’s not unrealistic,” says the girl, “because I am a whore.”
“Thank you, obscure music!” says the guy. “Once again, knowledge of bands has caused a movie character to get laid, despite such skills being worthless in real life courtships!”
* * *
An attractive depressed guy and an attractive crazy girl are sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.
“What are you listening to?” asks the guy.
“The Shins. You know them?” says the girl.
“You gotta hear this one song. They’ll change your life, I swear.”
“I am beginning to fall for you and your quirky demeanor.”
“I know. Thanks, crappy band that everyone will have forgotten in two years.”
“You know, random chick I just met in the waiting room, despite how cheesy this is, it’s actually a very unique and sweet moment. Isn’t it a shame that every faux indie film that comes out now includes this overused cliche of a scene where two characters discuss obscure bands they like?”
“At least it’s not as bad as those Buddy Holly glasses John Krazinski wore in ‘Away We Go.’ That’s when the faux indie movie genre really jumped the shark.”
* * *
My apologies for wasting nearly 600 words of this column on satirical dialogue from “500 Days of Summer”, “Juno”, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, and “Garden State”, but someone needs to stop this nonsense once and for all. If I see another film where two characters fall for each other after discussing obscure bands, I’m going to throw up all over the theater and anyone unfortunate enough to be in it with me.
I’d just like to watch one modern faux indie film where I’m not subjected to a 20-minute discussion of whichever band the screenwriter thinks is overlooked by modern society. Especially when it’s a band as lousy as The Smiths. There’s a reason why the only people left on Earth who listen to Morrissey look like they just arrived in a time machine from 1985.
Trust me, I’ve tried discussing obscure bands with pretty girls in real life, and usually they just ignore me and ask if I have any Coldplay CDs. While I’m more than happy to allow Hollywood to make my unrealistic sexual fantasies a reality on the screen, I draw the line at them making my fantasy into a tired cliche. Because then I have to think up a new fantasy, and I’m quite attached to this one where I mention a cool band and a girl rips her clothes off. Stop ruining it for me, Hollywood.